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Best Garmin Watch: Which Timekeeping Model is Right for You?

Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

Have you ever wondered which model would be the best Garmin watch for your needs? It does not matter whether you plan to run, swim or do cardio. The following models have some really amazing features that will help you track your training and share it with the world.

These models come with big screens, smartphone notifications and heart rate monitoring. Everything you need in a small gadget that is easy to look at while training! You do not have to depend on your smartphone only because Garmin watches provide you with everything.

In this article we are going to take a look at the best Garmin running watch. If you are interested, make sure to stay tuned in for more info!

Our top picks

Product NameWeightHeart rate monitor/strong>Smart notificationsPrice
Garmin Forerunner 735XT1.6 ouncesYes, 24/7YesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 6301.4 ouncesNoYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 2351.6 ouncesYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 2301.44 ouncesYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Forerunner 920XT With HRM Run2.08 ouncesYesYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Approach S6 GPS Golf1.6 ouncesNoNoCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Epix1.6 ouncesNoYesCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Vivoactive1.3 ouncesNoYesCheck price on Amazon

Features to Look for

There are many people who decide to use a smartphone instead of watch because there are great running apps that can track your activities. And it is usually recommended to start with an app. However, a running watch is even better because it provides you with the real-time stats that you can look at while you run.

It is more difficult to run and look at the smartphone all the time and that is why a good watch can come in handy. Additionally, most smartphones have short battery life which is irritating.

Proper Care

There is no need to worry because these watches are synched with online tracking tools and you can later on take a look at detailed statistics and even download your running plan. Therefore if you are serious about running then a running watch might be a better idea.

Some of the most important features when buying a running watch include:

Notifications alert

This is the feature that will notify if you have any messages, alerts, missed calls, updates, or just about any other things that might concern you. This will come in handy if you want to stay on top of things. Once you have linked your watch and smartphone, you will get these notifications in real time.

Garmin Watch Notifications

Tracking speed, distance, sleep, calories

On top of tracking your heart rate, you will also need to keep track of important things like your speed, distance, sleep and calories consumed. Keeping track of these things will ensure that you will gain progress in your journey towards fitness. Also, keeping track of these factors will allow you to know if there are adjustments to be made to your fitness and diet plans.

Heart rate monitoring

If you are truly serious about your physical fitness, then you will want to keep track of your heart rate. It’s a good thing that most modern running and smart watches have this particular feature.

Garmin Watch

GPS features

With the popularity of running apps, you will definitely want a running watch that has GPS capabilities. This way, you can map your runs and keep track of things like speed and distance traveled. In this day and age, most running watches will have GPS features, so you will not have any issues when it comes to this particular functionality.

Sharing apps and widgets

Social media is pretty much a norm nowadays. So, you could go for a running watch that will allow you to easily share your running milestones and personal bests in some of the most popular social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Top Products on the Market

If you are open to recommendations, we highly advise that you check out these top Garmin watches available in the market.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Dimensions: 1.75 x 0.47 x 1.75 inchesGarmin Forerunner 735 XT

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Specific features: 24/7 Heart rate monitoring, data support for: running, cycling, swimming, multisport, hiking, xc skiing, strength, paddle sports and cardio; automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing

Best use: Running, swimming, cycling, skiing

There are many things that make Garmin Forerunner 735XT one of the best models in the market and one of them is that it is very lightweight. It is designed to be very soft to touch with comfy silicone beads and it is also very stylish.

It has an attractive and traditional watch shape that is eye catching. As for its built in activities, it supports a variety of activities including: running, swimming, cycling, cardio and multisport.

The heart rate monitoring lasts for 24/7 and there is no additional strap needed – the Elevate Wrist Heart technology will monitor your heart beats all day and night long. This watch also supports connected features such as automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, Live Tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing.

This means that you can get notifications from your smartphone to your phone with vibration. You won’t miss even one notification in this way!

PROS:

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Compatible with smartphone and desktop
  • Notifications alert
  • Connected feature
  • It supports a variety of activities
  • An attractive design
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: Make sure to check out Garmin Forerunner 735XT Accessory Band which is a great addition to your watch! It’s comfortable and lightweight, so it’s a great fit.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 630

Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inchesGarmin Forerunner 630

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Specific features: Touchscreen GPS running watch with a high resolution color display; Advanced running dynamics include ground contact time balance, stride length and vertical ratio; Features stress score, performance condition and lactate threshold; Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ

Best use: Running, swimming, cycling

The Garmin Forerunner 630 simply has to offer a lot. Some of its most prominent connected features include the automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing.

You are able to download all data fields to your desktop and you will of course get notified from your smartphone to the watch. There are numerous applications and widgets to help you improve your tracking.

This model perhaps does not have a heart monitoring feature but it has a great battery life and amazing advanced physiological measurements such as stress score, performance condition, lactate threshold, recovery time, VO2 max, and predicted race times.

Whether you are a professional athlete or just an enthusiast, this watch will help you a lot. Use this watch for cardio, running, or any other multi-sport activity that you perform. It will help you to track your progress without any trouble.

PROS:

  • Good battery life
  • Advanced physiological measurements
  • Connected feature apps for sharing media
  • Smartphone notifications
 CONS:

  • The price
  • No heart rate measurement

Related: Make sure to take a look at Garmin HRM-Run which provides 6 different running dynamics metrics. Aside from providing real-time data, the strap itself is quite comfortable and easily adjustable.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235

Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inchesGarmin Forerunner 235

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Specific features: GPS running watch with wrist-based heart rate; receive audio prompts from your connected smartphone that include laps and lap times; smart notifications; battery life 11 hours training, 9 days watch, activity tracking, notifications + heart rate

Best use: Running, swimming, cycling

Garmin Forerunner 235 is a gorgeous watch with a traditional design that provides you with all the basic necessities for your training. The large screen allows you to comfortable look at all the stats and the battery life is really good, can last up to 11 hours.

Another great thing is that you can receive smart notifications from your phone and that includes incoming email, text messages, call alerts, calendar remainders and many more. You do not need to take your phone every time you hear a sound alert, you can see it all on your watch.

This watch also has a great feature that monitors your heart rate and displays it on the large screen. It can track your daily steps, distance, calories and even sleep. There are numerous widgets and apps that you can connect your watch to, all from the Connect Q store. It comes in three models and colors.

PROS:

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Connected features
  • Good battery life
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: Make sure to check out Garmin Forerunner 235 Watch Band because it is very comfortable and affordable. It’s a great way to personalize your Garmin Forerunner with its wide selection of eye-catching colors.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 230

Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8 inchesGarmin Forerunner 230

Weight: 1.44 ounces

Specific features: Watch and activity tracker; Longer battery life than the 220, 16 hours in training mode; a 44% larger screen than the 220 but the same physical size; audio prompts from your connected smartphone that include laps and lap times

Best use: Running, swimming, cycling

The Garmin Forerunner 230 is another really amazing running watch that is even more affordable than the previous ones. It comes in a cool design with a comfortable band and huge screen.

This watch tracks the most important things – distance, pace, time, heart rate and VO2 max. It also has connected features such as automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, audio prompts, music controls, smart notifications and social media sharing.

This means that you can share your activities with the world but also get notified via your phone and receive alerts on your watch. You can also download all the relevant data and connect it to your desktop.

The watch allows you to customize it according to your needs so you can set your goals in advance. The graphs and maps are easy to understand but they will provide you with enough data so you can make your training even better.

PROS:

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Sharing apps and widgets
  • Smartphone notification
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: The Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor will make your training even more comfortable. It has a great wireless compatibility for that much needed instant feedback.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 920XT with HRM Run

Dimensions: 0.5 x 1.9 x 2.2 inchesGarmin Forerunner 920XT with HRM-Run

Weight: 2.08 ounces

Specific features: Comes bundled with an HRM-Run heart rate monitor; provides feedback on running form by measuring cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time; estimates VO2 max, recovery time.

Best use: Running, swimming, cycling

A bit heavier than the previous models, Garmin Forerunner 920XT With HRM Run is still an amazing watch to possess.

The most amazing feature of this watch is definitely its GPS running dynamics and connected features. It does not only offer VO2 max estimate but it also predicts races and recoveries. It is a great watch for swimming because it can show the swimming distance, pace, stroke type identification, stroke count, and drill logging.

The smart notifications show you email, text, call alerts and many more. No need to pull put your phone because you can see everything on your watch.

There are also connected features such as uploading to Garmin Connect and live tracking of your success. Of course, you can share each tracking with the world. There is also a heart rate monitoring that is visible on your screen and you can look at whenever you feel like it.

PROS:

  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Connected features
  • Media sharing apps
  • Smart notifications
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: Want to protect your Forerunner 920XT? Then you should definitely check out the Garmin Forerunner 920XT Screen Protector for that maximum screen protection and easy installation.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Approach S6 GPS Golf Watch

Dimensions: 0.56 x 1.8 x 1.8 inchesGarmin Approach S6 GPS Golf Watch

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Specific features: High-resolution, sunlight readable, glove-friendly, color resistive touchscreen display; provides blind shot assistance; battery life up to 20 weeks (watch mode); up to 10 hours (gps mode); calculates how hard you swing your golf clubs

Best use: Golf

If you are a golf enthusiast, then Garmin Approach S6 GPS Golf Watch is for you. It has a hi-res colored and high-resolution screen that enables you to track your golf activities. Additionally, it is sun readable which means that you won’t have any problems looking at it in the bright sun.

The watch has an app that calculates how hard you can swing a golf club which in turns helps you find out how to be better. It also calculates the upswing and downswing and shows it in a form of ratio. The battery life is good.

The watch has a pinpointer that points you in the right direction of the pin and the display has a touch targeting – if you touch anywhere on the screen, it will show you the distance to that exact spot.

PROS:

  • Good battery life
  • Apps for calculating distance and club swings
  • Sun readability
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: The Garmin Carrying Case is often bought with the Garmin Approach, and for good reason. It will give your watch the a high level of protection, and allows you to easily carry it wherever you go.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Epix

Dimensions: 0.7 x 2 x 2.1 inchesGarmin Epix

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Specific features: 1.4” high resolution, sunlight-visible color Chroma touchscreen display; 8 GB internal memory lets you load a variety of maps; Altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass

Best use: Cycling, mapping, tracking, hiking

If you need a watch for cycling, then Garmin Epix might be the best choice for you. A big 1.4” touch screen provides you with everything you need to see and it is also sun resistant which means you can use it in the bright sun without trouble.

The internal memory of 8 GB means that you can store numerous maps and also customize the watch to your liking. Additionally, the watch is already preloaded with the worldwide base map, including TOPO U.S. 24K and City Navigator NT.

Since the display is touch sensitive, you can swipe across it and see more detailed maps. This watch also serves as an altimeter, barometer and compass which will help you not only during cycling but hiking as well. It also lets you plan what is ahead and tracks where have you been. The smart notification will ensure you never miss an email or text.

PROS:

  • Smartphone notification
  • 8 GB memory
  • Detailed maps
 CONS:

  • The price

Related: Other users have bought Garmin Epix Screen Protector, BoxWave and recommended it for its award-winning Anti-Glare Epix Screen Protector and Dual-layered high-grade PET film for maximum protection and durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive

Dimensions: 0.3 x 1.6 x 10.1 inchesGarmin Vivoactive

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Specific features: Ultra-thin gps smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen; built-in sports apps, including gps-enabled running; battery charge lasts through all your activities; customize with free watch face designs, widgets and apps from Connect IQ store

Best use: Cycling, running, swimming

Garmin Vivoactive is one of those watches that will enable you to do anything. It is not only GPS running but it also has built-in sports app that track golfing, biking, running, swimming and many more.

The display is huge, in color and ensures you see each statistic. The watch is ultra-thin with high resolution and also sunlight readable. You won’t have any trouble checking it out in bright sun. The battery lasts throughout most of your activities which can take even 10 hours.

You can download various widgets and apps and more importantly, connect them to your phone. The watch measures time, distance, speed and calories and you will be able to share these stats to the whole world. Besides a watch you also get a charging clip, vivo active and the manual. Of course, you can get smartphone notifications though your watch and keep your life in check and order.

PROS:

  • Notifications
  • Various widgets and apps
  • Social media sharing
  • Affordable
 CONS:

  • No heart rate monitoring

Related: Make sure to check out Garmin Vivoactive Screen Protector because it has been praised for its usefulness. It’s a proprietary screen protector with sleek surface, smart tech film and easy installation.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Thoughts

To sum up, we have covered eight really useful running watches of great quality. Most of them have all the necessary features that will help you track your training thus improve it considerably. Before you buy a model make sure that it has everything you need and choose it according to the type of training you plan to perform.

Tracking speed, calories, distance and heart rate are the most important features. So what do you think of our selection of watches? Do you have a personal recommendation when it comes to the best Garmin GPS watch? Let us know in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Shawna Lewis

    I’ve tried a few different wearable devices, and eventually started looking at Garmin because I’m such a fan of the brand. I ended up buying the Garmin Forerunner 235. I think it’s one of the best activity trackers on the market today! It’s lightweight and the folks at Garmin just crammed it full of great features. I love it!

  • Nancy King

    I agree that Garmin is a fantastic brand! I have the Garmin Vivoactive tracker. It’s worked so well for me on my runs. It’s probably the most accurate activity tracker I’ve ever used. It’s great!

  • Sean Nelson

    One thing about the Garmin – it easily syncs to devices, so you don’t have to worry. I particularly like the watch face and the sleek looking bracelet. If you’ve never used a fitness watch before, this watch will not pose a headache. The interface is simple and data is easy to read. The apps, widgets and GPS are all working great.

  • Sean Nelson

    This is a good-looking watch, definitely more “modern” looking than most trackers around. The watch is thin, and the interface is really cool. Huge graphics, numbers and data makes tracking fun. One downturn – no heart monitor. But if you don’t really need that feature, then this is the ideal watch for you.

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